Enemy At The Gates

By: Vanessa DeBona

Social Studies 8B Ms. Longo

 

Chapter 1: Characters 

 

Chapter 2: Setting

 

Chapter 3: Plot

 

Chapter 4: Opinion 

 

Chapter 5: Burundi Genocide 

 

Chapter 6: Burundi vs The Holocaust

 

Chapter 7: Citations 

 

 

 

Table Of Contents 

Vassili Zaitsev: Vassili Zaitsev is the main character in the movie. He begins as just another soldier for the soviet union, until a battle at the great Stalingrad turns him into a hero and a well known face for propaganda, due to his undeniable skill and knowledge. He then is thrown into a game of cat and mouse with German sniper Erwin Konig. As well as a love triangle with Commisar Danilov amd Tania Chernova. 

 

Erwin Konig: Erwin Konig is a German sniper, and the antagonist in the movie. Konig is one of the best snipers that the Germans have. He is assigned to find and kill Vassili Zaitsev, due to his positive propaganda. He is methodical, kniving, and stubborn. He knows no mercy and will stop at nothing to kill Vassili.  

 

 

Chapter 1: Characters

Tania Chernova: Tania Chernova is another main character in the movie. She is a Jewish soviet who after finding out about the horrors in Germany and decided to become a soldier. She is one of the very few female soldiers seen throughout the duration of the movie. But that doesn't make her any less determined than the boys. She is stubborn and strong willed as well as selfless.  

 

Commisar Danilov: Commisar Danilov is also a main character in the film, and he causes problems, as well as provides solutions. In the beginning, he is dead set on making Vassili a face of the war, but as time goes on his jealousy gets the best of him which then causes conflict between him and Vassili. But eventually, he comes to his senses and commits the ultimate sacrifice.

Chapter 1: Characters

          Enemy At The Gates takes place in multiple places throughout the Soviet Union (now known as Russia). The beginning battle takes place in Stalingrad, now known as Volgograd. It's where the great battle of Stalingrad took place. The battle was a bloody and ruthless one. The battle lasted for 5 months, one week, and three days. It was between Nazi Germany and the axis powers versus the Soviet Union. The battle ended on February 2, 1943, when the Germans had surrendered, with about 91,000 of their soldiers remaining. This was humiliating for Hitler and the axis powers. And although it was a great victory for the Soviet's, they still suffered many casualties. In the end, The Soviet's said that they found about 250,000 dead Germans -and other axis powers- soldiers. However historians believe that the number of captured, wounded, or dead could be as high as 800,000.

           

Chapter 2: Setting

An arial view of Volgograd (present day city where Stalingrad was located).

        Still, the Soviet's had suffered greater. They lost 1.1 million soldiers who had either been killed, wounded, or captured. This high number was due to the ruthlessness of the Soviet Union's generals and higher up soldiers. The process worked like this, a soldier would be given a gun, and another soldier would follow close behind him. When the first soldier was killed, the one behind him would pick up his gun and continue to fight. As if that wasn't bad enough, they were not allowed to turn back. If they did decide to run back or retreat, they were shot to death by their own generals. Therefore if you were a soviet union soldier, and you went to fight, you were almost sure to die one way or another. Most of the combat scenes take place here. While the rest of the scenes take place in nameless places in the Soviet Union and Germany.  

Chapter 2: Setting 

        The movie begins with the end of the great battle of Stalingrad. Where thousands if nameless soldiers are caught up in a blood bath. Most of the Soviet's lie dead, when writer and political face, Commisar Danilov, drives through hoping to find survivors. Just when it seems like there are no survivors left, Commisar finds Vassili Zaitsev. In order to live, Vassili played dead. However, the two had to face six leftover german soldiers. Commisar believes they need a miracle, and Vassili happens to be that miracle. He finds a nearby loaded gun, with six bullets, leaving him no room for error.

        Just barely pointing the gun over the fountain wall, Vassili takes aim. Concentrated he pulls the trigger and gets one of the soldiers. None of the others hear the shot and are still unaware of the two men's presence. So Vassili takes aim again and gets another soldier. Then he shoots another soldier, leaving three to deal with. One of the soldiers sees one of his dead comrades and begins to fire in Vassili and Commisar's direction. But Vassili is ready and jumps up, shoots the shooter and the remaining two soldiers in seconds. Commisar, who is in shock and disbelief knew then that this man he just met would be the new face of Soviet Propaganda. 

       Commisar brings Vassili back to a safe location for soldiers. He continues to propose an idea to Vassili. He tells him that he wants him to be the new face of propaganda. Vassili is confused and asks why Commisar wants a no name like him to be pro[aganda. Commisar, in shock, responds by telling Vassili that he has incredible talent and should be recognized for his courage, bravery, and intelligence. Vassili, who has no family, accepts the offer. Little by little more and more propaganda is put out in the media, and eventually, Vassili is the face of the war for the Soviets.

        

Chapter 3: Plot

        While Vassili's fame had positive consequences, it also had negative. When Germans saw the effects Vassili had on people, they decided he needed to be taken care of. So they brought in Erwin Konig, a sniper working for the Germans. He was known as one of the best snipers in the world. His mission was to kill Vassili, no matter who got hurt in the process. Konig agreed to the mission and prepared for a deadly game of cat and mouse. 

        Meanwhile, Vassili, unaware of the danger that lay ahead, is enjoying being the face of propaganda. Soon, boys everywhere want to meet him. One of them is a nine-year-old boy named Sacha Filipov. Sacha's mother is a friend of Commisar, so he brings Vassili to meet them. While at the Filipov residence, Vassili meets a young girl named Tania Chernova. She is one of the few female soldiers that serves the Soviet Union. But in this case, she causes more bad than good. Upon meeting Tania, Vassili falls instantly in love. the only problem is that Commisar is also in love with Tania, but she only has eyes for Vassili. This ultimately causes tension between the two men after Vassili has an intimate night with Tania. After finding out Commisar makes an attempt to sabotage Vassili. However, there are bigger problems than the jealousy between the three. 

         Vassili learns quickly that Erwin Konig did not come to play. His constant attempts on his life leave many of Vassili's comrades dead and injured. But Konig still cannot seem to get Vassili himself. He soon becomes frustrated with his constant failure. And when he thinks he has run out of ideas, he gets word that a young boy named Sacha is close with Vassili, and Sacha happened to be Jewish. This gives Konig a mortifying plan. He goes to the Filipov residence and finds Sacha. He tells him that if he doesn't find and give him information about Vassili, he will send him and his mother to a concentration camp. Sacha tells Konig that he will do as he says, but Sacha is really loyal to Vassili and will attempt to get information out of Konig to help Vassili. 

 

 

Chapter 3: Plot

        Sacha means well and is truly trying to help Vassili, but it winds up leading Sacha to an untimely death. After Konig finds out that Sacha has been working for both sides he decides that he will show Vassili what is really at stake. While on a routine check, Vassili and Tania stubble upon a mortifying site. They find Sacha hanging dead from a pole nearby. Tania is completely mortified and begins to cry and breakdown. Vassili begins to realize how dangerous this is really becoming, but it is just the beginning. Vassili decides that he must end it. But a small slip leads all of Germany along with the Soviet Union to believe he is dead, which just raises the danger. 

        After Vassili is thought to be dead by the public, the Germans make a bold decision to attack the Soviet Union. This leaves Tania and ms. Filipov badly injured. Meanwhile Vassili and Commisar in a deadly search for Erwin Konig. Due to their injuries Tania and ms. Filipov must leave the Soviet Union. Little does Tania know, she may never see Commisar or Vassili again. While waiting for Konig to show himself, Commisar makes a deadly sacrifice that ends this whole deadly game of cat and mouse. To find out what happens you have to watch the movie. 

Chapter 3: Plot

I give Enemy At The Gates 9/10 stars. I thought it was a great movie, and it was very well done. The whole movie was very emotional and there were many sad events that were devastating and unpredictable. But that's one of the many reasons why I was constantly invested in the movie. It did a great job of helping poeple visualize and understand how gruesome the time was for people all around the world, and that no one was safe. I think it appeals to teens and adults, but it is very mature. 

 

I would reccomend this movie to teens and adults who are interested in the plot of the stories. But people who do plan to watch the movie should be aware that it contains very mature topics and is very emotional. But is also an informative movie and is good for learning the time period. 

Chapter 4: Opinion 

       During 1972 in Burundi, Tutsi-led government forces and other collaborating Tutsi killed an estimated 100,000-200,000 Hutu, as well as other Tutsi who attempted to stop the violence. This is known as the Burundi genocide. Burundi is located in the Great Lakes region of Africa and is the southern neighbor of Rwanda, and like Rwanda, has tragically suffered from a genocide. Which was just followed by a long civil war.

       Tensions in the 1960s between the Hutu and Tutsi increased because they both wanted independence as well as control. In 1966, a Tutsi army led by Michel Micombero seized power and quickly began to exclude Hutu involvement in the government.  in government. However, the cause of the 1972 genocide was not just a matter of the politics or Tutsi attempting to kill all Hutu but was also affected by the conflict between Tutsi struggling to control the government. The Tutsi, represented by Micombero, was moving to increase its power at the expense of other Tutsi, and as a result the oppressed Hutu could see the power of the government weakening. Tensions rose and violence began all over Burundi. But the Tutsi's were determined, and they turned to killing to get their way. In the end hundreds of thousands of Hutu and other Tutsi had felt the blow. 

       But years later the violence still had not ceased. In 1988, about 25,000 Hutu were killed in Burundi. Then in 1994 the Rwanda genocide took place where more Tutsi and Hutu were killed. By the 2000s it is said that over 300,000 people have lost their lives in this civil war. Tensions are still high between the Hutu and Tutsi, even today. 

Chapter 5: Burundi Genocide

The Holocaust happened in Germany and Europe. The Burundi genocide happened in Burundi.

The Nazis in the Holocaust killed mainly Jews but also others such as the disabled, homosexuals, gypsies, and many others. In contrast, in the Burundi genocide, the Tutsi focused on killing strictly Hutu's and opposing Tutsi.

The Holocaust rounded up about 11 million deaths, while the Burundi genocide only had about 100,000-200,000.

The Holocaust took place in the late 1930's and early to mid 1940's. The Burundi genocide took place in 1972, and ther was a civil war that followed and lasted for decades.

The Nazi's focused on killing specific groups of people because they believed they were superior and the other groups were inferior. The Tutsi mainly began killing the Hutu based more on political reasons than anything else. 


Both genocides were horrifying not only to the people involved but also to the ones who witnessed them. People should learn from their past to not repeat the same mistake. Maybe if the Tutsi had thought about the effect of the Holocaust then they wouldn't have done what they did. 


Chapter 6: Burundi Genocide vs The Holocaust

  1. "Genocide: Burundi." Genocide: Burundi | Woodring College of Education. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 Apr. 2017.
  2. Enemy at the gates. Dir. Jean Jacques Annaud. Perf. Jude Law. 2001. DVD.
  3. History.com Staff. "The Holocaust." History.com. A&E Television Networks, 2009. Web. 20 Apr. 2017.
  4. "Full Cast & Crew." IMDb. IMDb.com, n.d. Web. 20 Apr. 2017.

Chapter 7: Citations